Freshman Krista Hardebeck debuted as the Cardinal’s No. 3 singles player this season for the women’s tennis team and made an instant impact, rising to as high as No. 14 in the national rankings. But she saved her biggest win for last, bouncing back from a 1-6, 1-5 deficit in the deciding match of the national semifinal against Florida to send Stanford to the finals. She spoke with The Daily about her freshman season and about winning the team national championship.
The Stanford Daily (TSD): How does it feel to be part of the NCAA-Championship team your first season at Stanford?
Krista Hardebeck (KH): It feels great. I know a lot of people that think about coming into any school and being afraid that they won’t win an NCAA Championship. I got it out of the way my freshman year so I know I’ll at least always have one.
TSD: Before you began the recruiting process, what made you choose not to go on the pro circuit immediately after high school?
KH: I knew that going to college would be the best decision for my future because it would give me more a well-rounded experience.
TSD: What were some challenges you overcame leading up to or during the NCAAs?
KH: We obviously got a really difficult draw, so that was one huge challenge that my team and I had to overcome. It was a difficult road but it ended up being alright.
TSD: When you clinched in the semifinals against No. 1 seed Florida, what thoughts were going on in your mind?
KH: I was just so excited that our team was going to be in the finals. We were really happy that Florida wasn’t going to win three years in a row so I was really happy that I was one of the people who could help prevent that.
TSD: Then later after Stanford won the team title, how was it competing in the NCAA singles tournament alongside your teammates Nicole Gibbs and Kristie Ahn?
KH: They’ve always been inspirations to me and I’ve known them for a very long time. It was great playing right next to them, and [to] get them pumped up and have them pump me up.
TSD: Any goals for tennis your sophomore year?
KH: If we could win another NCAA title, that would definitely be the greatest thing that could happen.
TSD: When you aren’t playing tennis, how do you like spending your free time?
KH: I like to hang out with my friends and I like to listen to rap music.
TSD: You’ve played at several pro tennis tournaments this past school year. Are you planning to continue to do so this summer?
KH: I’m going to be playing a full schedule of pro-circuit events this summer like Lexington, Vancouver, Portland Oregon and hopefully back here at Stanford for the WTA.
Contact Soo Ji Lee at soojilee “at” stanford.edu.